Honda is taking China's Hebei Shuanghuan Auto company to court for allegedly ripping off its popular CR-V compact four-wheel drive. Honda first approached the Chinese carmaker in September 2003 after seeing promotional material for the RABO S-RV, which bears an amazing resemblance to the CR-V. After no response from Hebei Shuanghuang, Honda chose to file a lawsuit.
The lawsuit coincides with a Honda announcement that it will build up to 30,000 CR-Vs in China in joint venture with another company, Dongfeng Motor Corp. "We just want to make it clear that we want to protect our intellectual property rights," a Honda spokesman said. "If you look at the outward design, it is clear it is a copy of our CR-V."
Lawsuits of this kind have had little success in the Chinese courts, as both Volkswagen and Toyota know. Volkswagen took JiangBei to court for ripping off the Polo compact car and selling it as the Golo, while Toyota lost a trademark infringement case against Chinese carmaker Geely Group.